Floor Updates

Reid, Coons, Begich, Boxer

Buffet Rule bill (S. 2230)

Mar 27 2012

04:50 PM

Senator Reid: (4:19 PM)
  • Today --
    • A Motion to Reconsider the Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S. 1789, the Postal Reform bill has been entered.
    • S. 2204, the Menendez Energy Tax Credits bill:
      • The amendment tree was filled: Proposed amendment #1968; Proposed amendment #1969; Proposed amendment #1970; Proposed amendment #1971; and Proposed amendment #1972.
      • Filed Cloture on S. 2204, the Menendez Energy Tax Credits bill.
      • Under the rule, the ROLL CALL VOTE on the Motion to Invoke Cloture on S. 2204, the Menendez Energy Tax Credits bill, will occur one hour after the Senate convenes on Thursday (unless an agreement is reached to hold the vote earlier).
    • The Senate is now considering the Motion to Proceed to S. 2230, the Buffet Rule bill.

Senator Coons: (4:23 PM)
  • Spoke on the Highway bill.
    • SUMMARY "I was deeply frustrated to hear that the Transportation bill which was passed by overwhelming bipartisan consensus in this chamber has gone over to the House and they cannot find a way forward to respond to this bill from us or find any clarity or certainty about whether to simply take up debate, amend or consider and enact hopefully our bill from the Senate or ask for short-term extensions of 0, 60, or 90 days. As you know as a former governor and as I know as a former county executive, when investing in things as important as bridges and highways, roads that make infrastructure, transportation, and a reliable predictable future for our economy possible, nothing is more important than certainty. Financing major highway projects, buying major pieces of equipment, hiring the crews to do the work is exactly the sort of thing where certainty is critical. And so I have a simple question to our friends in the other chamber, which is when they will take up this bill that passed this chamber by such an overwhelming margin and when they will take seriously the broad bipartisan input from every imaginable group in support of this ... A two-year reauthorization, $109 billion that in my small state of Delaware would create 6,700 jobs now hangs in the balance. It will expire the end of this month and rather than take up and consider and hopefully pass this bill."

Senator Begich: (4:26 PM)
  • Spoke on the Highway bill.
    • SUMMARY "I was a mayor of a community. We had to deal with the real-life aftermath of what happens when it comes to extensions and what happens, and I know in my city when I saw these extensions from that end of the table, we also had to stop projects, slow them down, didn't have the money to finish them, winter shutdown, all it did was add cost, increase the capacity - or decrease the capacity of roads, and literally take products off the list. In your community, had you to deal with this probably like I had to, did you have the same kind of impact where you had to tell contractors I'm sorry, we don't have the money because the federal government hasn't done their job they said they would do 20-some times before and never completed it."

Senator Coons: (4:27 PM)
  • Spoke on the Highway bill.
    • SUMMARY "In my county role, we didn't do roads, the state does the roads but we do sewers and heavy capital fast that in our little county would cost tens of millions of dollars. We'd be on a project, off a project. We were fortunate in good times we had enough surplus, enough money in reserve we could go ahead and authorize the bond issue and authorize the project. But as the economy turned and as our balance sheet got tougher, we had to wait. We had to put things on hold. We had to put key projects off."

Senator Begich: (4:28PM)
  • Spoke on the Highway bill.
    • SUMMARY "Now in Alaska I chaired the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the MPO. Which had this money that came from this legislation, it would come to us and if they delayed it here or they had these crazy continuations because for some reason couldn't get their work done and now we're seeing that on the house side, they've had months, months to work on this, I think they actually banked that we would not work together, Democrats and Republicans and get something done. We actually did and a significant piece of legislation about infrastructure that's crumbling in this country, 74 votes, bipartisan, from all spectrums of the political super situation here and I think they banked that we would fail. But we didn't. Five weeks of work, a lot of compromise because we know what the impacts are on the street if don't want do this. And I can tell you back home because if the house doesn't take action on a very reasonable bill, a bipartisan bill, what will happen in Alaska these projects will obligate or not obligate the funds which means they will delay them. The contractors who expected to do work this summer will not and in Alaska because we're a winter climate, a lot of northern states have a similar situation, the asphalt plant that lays the asphalt down closes usually the first part of October so you have a window that shrinks very rapidly and if you're not careful, the net result is you have no projects and you pay more which means the delay the house side is doing is going to cost taxpayers more money, there will be less jobs. In Alaska we have 18,000 jobs at risk."

Senator Coons: (4:30 PM)
  • Spoke on the Highway bill.
    • SUMMARY "All the sectors of our economy that have suffered since the financial collapse of 2008, all the sectors in the entire American economy, at least in my home state, construction was hit the hardest. We already knew that we were far behind in investment. We have got tens of thousands of bridges that are out of compliance with basic engineering standards. Half of our roads are below the standards we would expect for a modern economy. This is money that can and should be invested in putting people to work, in construction which has suffered from the highest unemployment where it's got support from the chamber of commerce to the AFL-CIO, where we wrestled through the tough processes here over several weeks, as the senator says, and we have got a strongly bipartisan bill over, sitting, ready to go. There are other things that we debate in this chamber that maybe will create jobs, maybe won't, there is no question. Even those that have the strongest concerns about the federal role in our economy can't disagree that federal highway projects put people to work, strengthen our economy, make us more competitive. This bill is ready to go. Why you would not take it up and enact it today, I can't imagine."

Senator Boxer: (4:35 PM)
  • Spoke on the Highway bill.
    • SUMMARY "What more bipartisanship do they need than to have 75 senators support the bill - one of them was absent due to a funeral, so we got 74 votes to 22 against. Okay? What more do they want? Anyone watching the Senate today sees how paralyzed we are. We haven't been able to do a thing. There is filibusters on fixing the post office. There is filibusters on making sure that big oil doesn't keep ripping off consumers at the pump. Filibuster, filibuster, filibuster, filibuster. But we were able to get over all that and pass a Transportation bill. Why wouldn't the House be thrilled about that? Why wouldn't the House embrace what we did? Why would the House instead stand up again today and say we're going to have a 60-day extension? Guess what? They pulled it. They are not having a vote on that today because of the uproar it is creating in the states and on the House floor. The House has not delivered on its promise for a bill. All they do, the leadership, is complain about our bill. Today, I couldn't believe it, Chairman Mica said this bill isn't paid for. When Senator Baucus and Senator Thune and others worked across party lines to pay for our bill. It's 100% paid for. And guess what it does. It protects 1.9 million jobs and creates another million. That's what our bill does."